Parliament sat Monday through Thursday this week, with the Senate also sitting on Friday. The National Anti-Corruption Commission legislation trundles along, we find out just how dodgy Scott Morrison’s ministerial appointments were, and much more.
Here are the digital developments from Canberra I’ve noticed since the previous edition on 19 November.
- The big news is that Hon Virginia Bell AC delivered the report of her Inquiry into the Appointment of the Former Prime Minister to Administer Multiple Departments. According to the ABC, it recommends new laws that would, among other things, “require public notice of the appointment of ministers to an office, including temporary appointments, and departments to publish lists of ministers appointed to administer them”. And as the Guardian reports, Scott Morrison sought advice on a sixth ministry and did not agree to be interviewed by inquiry.
- Legislation to establish a National Anti-Corruption Commission has passed the Senate and is now back in the House of Reps. This is the National Anti-Corruption Commission Bill 2022 and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2022. If you’re keen, you might like to compare the first reading and third reading versions of the text to see how many amendments the Senate introduced.
- The Senate voted to resurrect the select committee on Foreign Interference through Social Media, although full details have yet to be posted.
- It’s a generic title, but the Treasury Laws Amendment (2022 Measures No. 4) Bill 2022 includes the Digital Games Tax Offset which was announced in the 2021-22 Budget and expanded in the 2021-22 MYEFO. The bill was introduced into the House of Reps this week.
- Also this week, the Treasury Laws Amendment (Modernising Business Communications and Other Measures) Bill 2022 will “make permanent the temporary changes introduced during the pandemic to allow businesses and regulators to use electronic signatures and hold virtual meeting,” InnovationAus reports.
- The Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee gave the go-ahead (PDF) for the planned increased penalties for data breaches.
- A curious one. Legislation passed this week to enable implementation of the Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA), which will commit the two countries to “cross-border data flows and prohibit unjustified data localisation requirements”. As InnovationAus reports, this would be at odds with the government’s thinking on introducing broader requirements for data to be stored within Australia.
- We have the government response to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) report: Review of the National Security Legislation Amendment (Comprehensive Review and Other Measures No. 1) Bill 2021. Don’t get too excited, they just agreed with a PJCIS recommendation to clarify one tiny piece. For all the background here’s the review home page.
- “A study of 1,504 Australians has found customers feel left out of the debate on cyber attacks, data security, and have low confidence in national efforts to keep pace with threats,” reports The Mandarin, and this research was done in 2020.
- “The Office of Best Practice Regulation has been renamed the Office of Impact Analysis.”
Please let me know if I’ve missed anything, or if there’s any specific items you’d like me to follow.
Parliament resumes on Monday, running through to Thursday, with the Senate also sitting on Friday. This is currently the last session scheduled for 2022.
[Photo: Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus KC MP.]